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Holiday Gift Guide Review: The Monkees, “The Monkees: Super Deluxe Edition”

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Monkees SDEFor The Monkees, the third time’s the charm. The 1966 debut album from Davy, Micky, Peter and Mike has been expanded twice before on CD – first in 1994 on one CD and then in 2006 as a two-CD set. Rhino Handmade has recently unveiled the third and most comprehensive release of this album yet, and with 45 previously unreleased bonus cuts among its 100 songs, The Monkees: Super Deluxe Edition (R2-543027) is not just Monkee mania, but Monkee manna. The story of this American fab four has been told numerous times on CD, DVD and the printed page over the years, but producer Andrew Sandoval has unearthed plenty of new discoveries on this stellar set which, in a fun touch, is told in reverse chronological order on these three CDs: CD 3 has the pre-Monkees recordings of Jones and Nesmith, CD 2 has the album sessions, and CD 1 has the album as released and the television versions.

Though The Monkees didn’t organically come together as a band, they doubtlessly ended up as one – a triumphant rock-and-roll story. While The Monkees features Jones, Dolenz, Tork and Nesmith primarily as vocalists, the LP boasts songs written and produced by Nesmith, plus instrumental contributions from Tork. Producers Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart, and entrepreneur/mastermind Don Kirshner, weren’t yet ready to hand over creative freedom to their charges, but they certainly surrounded The Monkees with the best. Boyce provided seven compositions – six with Bobby Hart and one with Steve Venet, including “(Theme from) The Monkees,” “I Wanna Be Free” and the No. 1 hit “Last Train to Clarksville.” The album also has tunes from Nesmith (“Papa Gene’s Blues”) David Gates (“Saturday’s Child”), Carole King and Gerry Goffin (“Take a Giant Step,” “Sweet Young Thing,” co-written with Nesmith) and Goffin and Russ Titelman (“I’ll Be True to You”). The cream of the crop from the L.A. Wrecking Crew brought their considerable skills to the album, too, including Glen Campbell, James Burton, Hal Blaine, Larry Knechtel, Jim Gordon, Al Casey and Mike Deasy. Upon its release, The Monkees spent 78 weeks on the Billboard chart – thirteen of those at No. 1. It’s still one hell of a record.

The Monkees is presented in mono and stereo on the first disc of this release, with twelve bonuses added including previously unissued mono television versions of many of the tunes, promo spots and jingles. The album successfully showed off The Monkees’ many facets but especially their facility for raw rock. “Saturday’s Child” is a charged, aggressive riff-rocker from future Bread frontman David Gates; country-rock and light psychedelia tinged a number of the songs like Nesmith’s stomping Goffin/King co-written “Sweet Young Thing,” and Boyce and Hart’s ironically rollicking “This Just Doesn’t Seem to Be My Day.” Even Goffin and King were modernizing their style, with Dolenz imploring listeners to “take a giant step outside your mind…” Of course, Tommy and Bobby synthesized their pop mastery with rock-and-roll urgency on the unforgettable Dolenz-sung chart-topper “Last Train to Clarksville.” Of his lead vocals, Davy Jones shone brightest with his tender reading of Boyce and Hart’s “I Wanna Be Free,” which tapped into the zeitgeist of the era with eloquence and emotion. (The “fast version” for TV, with Jones sharing the lead with Dolenz, premieres here in its mono mix. Fascinating though it is, especially with Michel Rubini’s burbling organ part, the producers clearly made the right choice in selecting the touching ballad version for the LP. Other takes of the “fast version” are included on Disc Two.) Even the least enduring songs on The Monkees – like the decent garage-rocker “Let’s Dance On” and the goofy “Gonna Buy Me a Dog” – have charm in abundance.

Hit the jump for more of The Monkees! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

December 9, 2014 at 14:11

Holiday Gift Guide Review: Todd Rundgren, “At The BBC 1972-1982”

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Todd at BBCChristmas has come early for Todd Rundgren fans this year with the release by Cherry Red’s Esoteric Recordings imprint of Todd Rundgren at the BBC: 1972-1982, a handsome new 3-CD/1-DVD box set of live performances drawn from Rundgren’s first decade of rock stardom. The latest release in Esoteric’s Todd Rundgren Archive Series, At the BBC captures the transformation of the ever-evolving artist from precocious pop chameleon to prog-rock adventurer and beyond.

1972’s sprawling Something/Anything announced Rundgren as an artist with whom to be reckoned, following the more modest solo releases Runt and Runt: The Ballad of Todd Rundgren. On the heels of the U.K. single success of “I Saw the Light,” Rundgren made a trip to Britain and the BBC for Radio One’s In Concert program in July 1972. His half-hour performance kicks off this set, and it’s a fascinating document. Of its six songs, five were from Something/Anything. Three were played solo by Rundgren at the piano (the aching ballads “It Wouldn’t Have Made Any Difference” and “Be Nice to Me” plus the dry blues spoof “Piss Aaron”) and three more with Rundgren accompanying himself to unique, pre-recorded backing tracks for which he supplied all instrumentation and backing vocals (the pure pop hits “I Saw the Light” and “Hello, It’s Me,” and the searing “Black Maria”). The stripped-down “Hello It’s Me” harkens back to the original Nazz ballad version of the song, with the backing vocals subtly enhancing what’s essentially a solo voice-and-piano rendition. The half-hour format also allowed for a liberal amount of banter, including Todd self-deprecatingly dismissing the beautifully vulnerable “Be Nice to Me” as a “simpering” song, or explaining the concept of meat loaf to his U.K. audience during “Piss Aaron.” No, not Meat Loaf, as in the rocker for whom Rundgren would produce the smash Bat Out of Hell, but meat loaf, the food!

While Rundgren’s 1972 appearance on The Old Grey Whistle Test has not survived, At the BBC happily continues with two October 1975 songs performed for Whistle Test. Rundgren is joined by Utopia – then consisting of Roger Powell on keyboards, John Siegler on bass and Willie Wilcox on drums – for the blue-eyed soul of “Real Man” and the extended prog rock-soul jam “The Seven Rays.” On those songs, Utopia welcomed backing vocalists Luther Vandross and Anthony Hinton, and the pair also appeared with the band for an October 9, 1975 Hammersmith Odeon concert broadcast by Radio One. That show, featured on the box set’s second disc, was previously released on CD by Shout! Factory in 2012, but here adds Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim’s pulsating West Side Story standard “Something’s Coming” which was unfortunately cut from the previous release.

The Hammerstein Odeon set closely resembled that of the concert released by Utopia as Another Live, which was recorded just a couple of months earlier with the six-piece line-up of Rundgren, Powell, Wilcox, Siegler, Moogy Klingman and Ralph Schuckett. Both concerts saw “The Wheel,” “Heavy Metal Kids,” Roger Powell’s “Mister Triscuits” and Jeff Lynne’s “Do Ya” all performed. Hammersmith Odeon, interestingly, offers both “Do Ya” and the Rundgren original “Open My Eyes,” first recorded by The Nazz. It’s been said that Rundgren covered “Do Ya” as a response to Lynne’s pre-ELO band The Move covering his “Open My Eyes.” The Hammersmith set deftly balanced Rundgren’s rock and pop sides, and also took in songs from select solo albums, including “When the Sh*t Hits the Fan/Sunset Boulevard/Le Feel Internacionale” (A Wizard, A True Star), “The Last Ride” and “Sons of 1984” (Todd, also original home of “Heavy Metal Kids”) and “Couldn’t I Just Tell You” (Something/Anything). “Freedom Fighters” originated on the 1974 Todd Rundgren’s Utopia album and “The Wheel” on Another Live.

Hit the jump for more, including the full track listing and order links! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

December 2, 2014 at 11:54

Release Round-Up: Week of December 2

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BJ - Home Happy

B.J. Thomas, Home Where I Belong/Happy Man (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)
B.J. Thomas, You Gave Me Love/Miracle (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)
Linda Jones, The Complete Atco-Loma-Warner Bros. Recordings (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. )
The Five Stairsteps, Our Family Portrait/Stairsteps (Expanded Twofer Edition) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. )
The Unforgiven, The Unforgiven (Expanded Edition) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. )
Cowboy, 5’ll Getcha Ten (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)
Grateful Dead, Dick’s Picks Vol. 14—Boston Music Hall 11/30/73 & 12/2/73 (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)
Theodore Bikel, Theodore Bikel’s Treasury of Yiddish Folk & Theatre Songs (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Real Gone Music kicks off December with a packed slate including soul rarities from The Five Stairsteps and Linda Jones, roots-rock from The Unforgiven, classic rock from Cowboy (featuring Duane Allman!) and Grateful Dead, timeless folk from Theodore Bikel, and four albums on two CDs from B.J. Thomas!  Home Where I Belong/Happy Man and You Gave Me Love/Miracle shed light on the multiple Grammy winner’s contemporary Christian period, and both titles feature bonus tracks and new liner notes from The Second Disc’s own Joe Marchese based on a new interview with B.J. himself!

Leonard Cohen - Dublin

Leonard Cohen, Live In Dublin (Columbia/Legacy, 2014)

3-CD/DVD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
3-CD/BD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
3-CD: Amazon U.K.

The Canadian troubadour’s epic, three-hour career retrospective concert of September 12, 2013 concert in Ireland is preserved on a variety of releases!

Willie and Sister Bobbie

Willie Nelson and Sister Bobbie Nelson, December Day: Willie’s Stash Vol. 1 (Legacy) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Legacy kicks off a new archival series dedicated to the legendary Willie Nelson with a selection of homemade recordings by Willie and his beloved Sister Bobbie, featuring other Family Band members including Mickey Raphael and the late Bee Spears.

Pixies 25

Pixies, Doolittle 25: B-Sides, Peel Sessions And Demos (4AD) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

1989’s Doolittle – the second album from Pixies – has been expanded as a 3-CD version with 50 tracks: the original album, 2 full Peel Sessions, 6 B-sides and 22 demos – of which, almost half have never been commercially released before.

Todd at BBC

Todd Rundgren, Todd Rundgren at the BBC: 1972-1982 (Esoteric) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

This new 3-CD/1-DVD set captures Todd Rundgren’s live performances for the BBC during the first decade of his mighty career in one compact clamshell case.  This set promises to include all of the surviving footage of Todd at the BBC – on both radio and television – during this period, and the DVD is happily region-free.

Donna Summer, The CD Collection (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

The Vinyl Collection: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

The late, beloved dance diva’s underrated Geffen and Atlantic period is re-evaluated in a new box set containing remastered and expanded editions of Summer’s albums on CD, and remastered original album sequences on vinyl.  Each title is also available individually.  See here for links to individual titles, full track listings and more!

Three Dog - Suitable

Three Dog Night, Suitable for Framing: Expanded Edition (Iconoclassic) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Iconoclassic continues its series of Three Dog Night reissues with the band’s second album featuring “Celebrate,” “Easy to Be Hard” and “Eli’s Coming” plus Elton John and Bernie Taupin’s “Lady Samantha.”  This remastered edition boasts new liner notes and single mixes of “Eli’s Coming” and “Celebrate.”

Dionne - How Many Times

Dionne Warwick, How Many Times Can We Say Goodbye (FTG) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.) / No Night So Long: Expanded Edition (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Funky Town Grooves kicks off its vault-clearing series of expanded reissues from Miss Warwick’s 1980s catalogue with these albums from 1983 and 1980, respectively.  See full details and track listings here.

Goldebriars

Goldebriars, Walkin’ Down the Line: The Best of the Goldebriars (Now Sounds) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Now Sounds revisits the 1960s folk group The Goldebriars – featuring the young Curt Boettcher – on this new anthology featuring previously unreleased tracks and new liner notes from Dawn Eden.  Watch this space for a full rundown soon.

Chess

Chess: The Original Recording – Remastered Deluxe Edition (Universal U.K.) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. )

The original 1984 concept album of the musical by Tim Rice (Jesus Christ Superstar, The Lion King) and ABBA masterminds Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus is revisited on a new 2-CD/1-DVD edition.  Chess stars Elaine Paige, Barbara Dickson, Murray Head, Tommy Korberg and Denis Quilley.  Three previously unreleased bonus audio tracks (“Press Conference,” “Mountain Duet (Der Kleine Franz)” and “Anthem (Instrumental)”) have been added as well as a (reportedly region-free) DVD with five music videos and a 1984 Swedish documentary.

Waterfront

Leonard Bernstein, On the Waterfront: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Intrada)

It’s hard to believe, but Leonard Bernstein’s score to Elia Kazan’s 1954 masterwork On the Waterfront has never been released in any audio format…until now!  Intrada has the world premiere release of the sole original film score by the great Bernstein plus four bonus tracks!  And for those who missed out, the label’s 2010 CD issue of John Williams’ score for SpaceCamp is also back in print!

Moody Polydor

The Moody Blues, The Polydor Years 1986-1992 (Polydor) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

An overlooked period of The Moodies’ long career is celebrated on this 6-CD/2-DVD/1-vinyl single set which includes previously unreleased music and a new hardbound book of liner notes and more.

Bert Berns 3

Various Artists, Hang on Sloopy: The Bert Berns Story Volume 3 (Ace) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Ace Records takes another little piece of our hearts with this third volume of songs penned by the great Bert Berns such as “Twist and Shout” and “Hang On Sloopy.”  Performers on this volume include Van Morrison, The Isley Brothers, The Drifters, Wilson Pickett and Lulu!

THE SECOND DISC’S HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE IS HERE!

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Holiday Gift Guide 2014

We wouldn’t want you to be left out in the cold for Cyber Monday, so we’re proud to present our annual Holiday Gift Guide featuring over 40 essential selections for the music enthusiast in your life!  Just click on the banner above to peruse the full guide now!

Written by Joe Marchese

December 1, 2014 at 11:30

Posted in Box Sets, News, Reissues

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Release Round-Up: Week of November 24

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Simon and Garfunkel - Albums Cover

Simon and Garfunkel, The Complete Albums Collection (Columbia/Legacy) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

This 12-CD box includes all five of Simon & Garfunkel’s stereo studio albums released between 1964 and 1970, newly remastered from first-generation analog sources plus first-time remasters of The Graduate soundtrack and 1981’s The Concert in Central Park; 1972’s Greatest Hits album (which contained some unique performances unavailable elsewhere); and the live concert albums from 1967, 1969 and 2004, as first released in 2002, 2008 and 2004, respectively.

VU Box

The Velvet Underground: 45th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition (UMe)

6-CD Super Deluxe Box: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

2-CD Deluxe Edition: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

UMe continues its series of deluxe, hardcover book-style editions of The Velvet Underground’s discography with this 6-CD edition of the band’s 1969 release including live and studio rarities.  Highlights are also available in a 2-CD edition.

Neil Diamond - All Time Greatest Hits

Neil Diamond, All-Time Greatest Hits 2-CD Edition (Capitol) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. )

Capitol is reissuing and expanding the Neil Diamond compilation first issued this past July, and this time it jumps from 23 tracks on one CD to 42 tracks on two CDs. You can expect additions from Diamond’s new Melody Road and 2005 “comeback” 12 Songs as well as classics that didn’t make the cut on the original version such as “Heartlight,” “Desiree” and “Yesterday’s Songs.”

War Child

Jethro Tull, WarChild: 40th Anniversary Edition (Chrysalis) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

This 2-CD/2-DVD set features

  • The original album and bonus tracks (three previously unreleased), remixed in 5.1 surround and stereo by Steven Wilson
  • 10 orchestral pieces (nine previously unreleased) written for the proposed film’s soundtrack, four of which are remixed in 5.1 surround and stereo by Steven Wilson
  • Flat transfers of the original LP mix at 96/24, and the original quadrophonic mix (with 2 bonus tracks) in 4.0.
  • “The Third Hoorah” promo footage, and footage from a January 1974 photo session/press conference where the WarChild project was announced.

 

Bryan Adams - Reckless Box

Bryan Adams, Reckless: Super Deluxe Edition (A&M)

CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
2CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
2LP: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
BD Pure Audio: Amazon U.S.
2CD/DVD/BD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Bryan Adams is marking the 30th anniversary of his breakthrough Reckless with a variety of reissues including a super deluxe set with 2 CDs (featuring both studio outtakes and a previously unreleased live concert), 1 DVD (Reckless: The Movie) and a BD-Audio disc with stereo and surround mixes in high resolution.

DMB - Under

Dave Mathews Band, Under the Table and Dreaming (Legacy)

CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Vinyl: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Legacy reissues and remasters Dave Matthews Band’s 1994 studio debut in time for its 20th anniversary on both CD and vinyl.   The CD has three unreleased bonus tracks, including the original studio version of live favorite “Granny” and acoustic versions of “Dancing Nancies” and “The Song That Jane Likes,” and the bonus tracks will also be included on a download card with the vinyl LP.

Little Mermaid - Legacy Collection

The Legacy Collection – The Little Mermaid: Original Soundtrack (Walt Disney Records) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. )

Disney continues its Legacy Edition series of deluxe expanded hardbound reissues with a 2-CD set dedicated to Howard Ashman and Alan Menken’s The Little Mermaid!

Bing - Songs I Wish

The Bing Crosby Archive titles (Bing Crosby Enterprises/UMe)

Bing Crosby, American Masters – Bing Crosby Rediscovered: The Soundtrack (Bing Crosby Enterprises/UMe, 2014) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Bing Crosby, Bing Sings the Irving Berlin Songbook (Bing Crosby Enterprises/UMe, 2014) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Bing Crosby, Some Fine Old Chestnuts: 60th Anniversary Deluxe Edition (Decca DL 5508, 1954/expanded as DL 8374 – reissued Bing Crosby Enterprises/UMe, 2014) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Bing Crosby, Songs I Wish I Had Sung the First Time Around: Deluxe Edition (Decca DL 8352, 1956 – reissued Bing Crosby Enterprises/UMe, 2014) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

The Bing Crosby Archive returns with four discs, every one of which is packed with previously unreleased material!  Click on the “Bing Crosby Archive” link above for track listings and full details on each title!

Clapton - Timepieces SACD

Eric Clapton, Timepieces: The Best of Eric Clapton SACD (Audio Fidelity) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

The 1982 greatest-hits compilation arrives in high-resolution stereo on Audio Fidelity’s new hybrid SACD remastered by Kevin Gray.

Holiday Gift Guide Review: Johnny Mathis, “The Complete Global Albums Collection”

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Mathis - Global Box Set

In two short years, Johnny Mathis will likely celebrate his 60th anniversary with Columbia Records, a towering achievement by any standard. But even the strongest marriages must sometimes weather separations, as was the case when the vocalist jumped ship to rival Mercury Records for the period between 1963 and 1967. At Mercury, Mathis formed Global Productions to administer his master recordings, and recorded some eleven albums (only ten of which were originally released) under its aegis. Upon his return to Columbia, a select few of Mathis’ Mercury recordings were reintroduced to the catalogue; the others remained dormant. A 2-CD set, The Global Masters, arrived in 1997 as an overview of this period, and in 2012, Real Gone Music finally reissued the ten original albums, and the eleventh shelved album, in full. Now, Legacy Recordings has released The Complete Global Albums Collection with all eleven LPs plus two more discs of bonus material, more than half of which has never previously seen the light of day. Within the compact, nondescript package, the box set contains some of the most beguiling music ever recorded by the velvet-voiced singer. And as the 1963-1967 period birthed some of the most seismic shifts in popular music, the box also traces the evolution of the Mathis style as he transitioned from Broadway and Hollywood standards to contemporary pop without sacrificing his rich, warm vibrato or the manner in which he caressed a lyric.

At Mercury, Mathis didn’t veer too far from the richly romantic ballad style that made him famous. He made the decision to self-produce a number of his albums, modestly reflecting in his specially-penned liner notes that “I tried to do what I could, but I had no idea what would be good for the market.” Crucially, though, he enlisted a number of the arrangers with whom he had worked at Columbia, including Don Costa and Glenn Osser.

Costa helmed Mathis’ Mercury debut, 1963’s The Sounds of Christmas, which is only now premiering on CD as part of this set in its original format. Columbia’s past LP and CD reissues retitled the album Christmas with Johnny Mathis and dropped two songs (“The Little Drummer Boy” and “Have Reindeer, Will Travel”). Both are happily reinstated here. The collaboration between singer Mathis, arranger Osser and producer Costa resulted in one of Mathis’ strongest and most diverse holiday sets – with spiritual songs, Tin Pan Alley favorites and novelties all represented.

Most of Mathis’ earliest Mercury albums concentrated on Broadway and Hollywood repertoire, exquisitely sung and lushly arranged, from songwriters of the past and present: Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen (“Call Me Irresponsible”) Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart (“A Ship Without a Sail”), Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe (“Camelot”), Charles Strouse and Lee Adams (“Put on a Happy Face”). Jerome Kern and Ira Gershwin (“Long Ago and Far Away”) and Jay Livingston and Ray Evans (“Never Let Me Go”) among them. The smart and sophisticated songs of Bart Howard also made a striking impression on these albums. Mathis championed his friend by recording such compositions as “Forget Me Not,” “Sky Full of Rainbows,” “What Do You Feel in Your Heart,” “Fantastic,” “Tomorrow Song,” “A Thousand Blue Bubbles.”

The most radical long-player of The Global Albums is 1964’s adventurous Olé, arranged by Allyn Ferguson. On this true departure of a record, Mathis performed a number of Latin American songs in their original language. These weren’t just much-covered songs from the bossa nova boom (although he did record Luis Bonfá’s “Manha de Carneval”) but also light classical pieces from the likes of Heitor Villa-Lobos and even Desi Arnaz’ signature “Babalu.”

Keep reading after the jump!

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

November 17, 2014 at 09:45

Release Round-Up: Week of November 17

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Henry Mancini - Classic Collection

Henry Mancini, The Classic Soundtrack Collection (RCA/Legacy) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

The Classic Soundtrack Collection features 18 of Mancini’s most memorable soundtrack albums for RCA, Columbia and Epic Records on nine CDs, spanning the period between 1960’s High Time and 1978’s Who is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe?, and adds bonus material from vocalists including Johnny Mathis, Andy Williams and, on a previously unreleased track, Julie Andrews.

Mathis - Global Box Set

Johnny Mathis, The Global Albums Collection (Legacy) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

A Columbia artist since 1956, Johnny Mathis departed his label home just once – recording some eleven albums (ten of which were released) under the imprimatur of his own Global Records production company between 1963 and 1967, at which time he returned to Columbia. Legacy’s new  box set collects all eleven LPs plus two discs of singles and previously unissued rarities, plus a booklet containing album-by-album notes from Mathis.

Bruce Box

 

Bruce Springsteen, The Album Collection Vol. 1 1973-1984 (Columbia/Legacy)

CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Vinyl: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Amazon MP3: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Collected here in one 8-CD or vinyl LP box set for the first time in newly-remastered editions are the artist and icon’s first seven albums.

Bowie - Nothing Has Changed

David Bowie, Nothing Has Changed (Legacy)

3 CD DELUXE EDITION (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. )

2 CD EDITION (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

The Thin White Duke looks back on his remarkable career with Nothing Has Changed from his newest single, the previously unissued “Sue (Or in a Season of Crime),” all the way back to 1964 and “Liza Jane.”

Joni - Love Has Many Faces

Joni Mitchell, Love Has Many Faces (Rhino) (Amazon U.S. /Amazon U.K.)

The legendary Miss Mitchell has transformed a sequence of her songs originally intended for the ballet stage into a thematically-arranged four-CD box set which doubles as a highly personal career retrospective.

Beefheart - Sun Zoom Spark

Captain Beefheart, SUN ZOOM SPARK: 1970-1972 (Rhino) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

This new 4-CD box set revisits three albums from Don Van Vliet and his Magic Band – Lick My Decals Off, Baby, The Spotlight Kid, and Clear Spot– in freshly remastered editions, and adds a fourth disc containing fourteen previously unreleased outtakes and alternates from Beefheart and his musical cohorts.

Wilco - Alpha Mike Foxtrot

Wilco,What’s Your 20 and Alpha Mike Foxtrot (Nonesuch)

What’s Your 20? Essential Tracks 1994-2014 (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Alpha Mike Foxtrot: Rarities 1994-2014:

CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Vinyl: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Nonesuch has two new collections celebrating the 20th anniversary of Chicago alt-rock band Wilco in high style!  Alpha Mike Foxtrot, a new box set (4 CDs, 4 LPs or digital), brings together rare studio and live recordings culled from the band’s archives.  What’s Your 20, the first-ever compendium of Wilco’s previously released studio recordings, is also now available on 2 CDs or digital.

Stones - LA

Rolling Stones, From the Vault: L.A. Forum – Live in 1975 (Eagle Rock)

CD/DVD: Amazon U.S.

Vinyl: Amazon U.S.

DVD: Amazon U.S. /Amazon U.K.

DVD + 3-LP: Amazon U.K.

The Stones continue to bring their digital archive to physical media with this campaign of releases dedicated to the band’s 1975 L.A. Forum show!

Peter Paul and Mary - Discovered

Peter Paul and Mary, Discovered: Live in Concert (Rhino) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

This new release is drawn from the archive of the beloved trio and features 13 songs never before released on a PP&M album. Only one track has been previously issued: “Mi Caballo Blanco,” which was included on the 2004 box set Carry It On.

Crimson Elements

King Crimson, Elements of King Crimson (DGM) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

This new limited edition box from the prog legends houses a 24-page “tour booklet” and two CDs of extracts, elements from studio recordings, alternate takes, live tracks, rehearsals & finished recordings from 1969-2014 – many of which are previously unreleased on CD.

Somerville

Jimmy Somerville, Bronski Beat and the Communards, Dance and Desire: Rarities and Videos (Edsel) (Amazon U.S. TBD / Amazon U.K. )

On 2 CDs and 1 DVD, Edsel compiles rare remixes, B-sides, and 24 promo videos for Jimmy Somerville, Bronski Beat and the Communards!

Old 97s

Old 97s, Hitchhike to Rhone (Omnivore)

CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Vinyl: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. 

Omnivore’s new 2-CD version of Old 97’s’ 1994 debut  Hitchhike To Rhome contains the original landmark alt-country album, plus a second disc of 12 rare and unreleased tracks, many mixed from the original multi-tracks for the first time by longtime Old 97’s engineer Rip Rowan. The double LP (limited edition first pressing on translucent orange vinyl) features the LP on 3 sides with 6 of the bonus tracks on the 4th. The download card included has the complete 2-CD program. Both formats include rare photos, memorabilia and new liner notes!

 

Art of McCartney

Various Artists, The Art of McCartney (Kobalt)

2-CD: Amazon U.S.  / Amazon U.K.

2-CD/1-DVD: Amazon U.S.  / Amazon U.K.

3-LP: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Bob Dylan, Billy Joel, Jeff Lynne, Brian Wilson, Cat Stevens, Harry Connick Jr. and Barry Gibb are just a few of the artists who have assembled to celebrate the music of Paul McCartney on this new 2-CD collection.  Amazon U.S. and U.K. have two exclusive editions with bonus material on CD and DVD.

Review: John Denver, “All of My Memories: The John Denver Collection”

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John Denver - All of My Memories“Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy,” goes one of John Denver’s most well-known songs. In a little over five minutes – and even less in its single version – “Sunshine” touches on many of the themes most important to the singer-songwriter: nature, love, beauty. Throughout the course of a career sadly cut short when he perished in a plane crash in 1997 aged just 53, Denver revisited these themes over and over again, using his pure, crystalline tone to bring comfort and spread a message of peace. With his boyish good looks, gentle voice and enthusiasm for music and nature, he was one of the preeminent pop voices of the 1970s, incorporating folk and country influences into his popular material. Legacy Recordings and Denver’s longtime label, RCA, have recently celebrated his enduring gifts of song with the release of a new box set, All of My Memories: The John Denver Collection. This 4-CD, 90-track box set revises and expands upon Denver’s last retrospective box, 1997’s The Country Roads Collection. Whereas that set was limited to the troubadour’s RCA years, this box also takes in the earliest part of his career and his post-RCA recordings for labels including Sony, Windstar and MCA.

Two-time Grammy winner Denver charted more than 40 Billboard Hot 100, AC and Country songs from 1971 to 1988, and this box set naturally features a number of them, most notably his twangy sing-along breakthrough “Take Me Home, Country Roads” (No. 2 Pop/No. 3 AC/No. 50 Country, 1971), the sweet “Sunshine on My Shoulders” (No. 1 Pop/No. 1 AC/No. 42 Country, 1974), the euphoric “Rocky Mountain High” (No. 9 Pop/No. 3 AC, 1972), the joyful “Thank God I’m a Country Boy” (No. 1 Pop/No. 5 AC/No. 1 Country, 1975) and the lush, sensual ode to his then-wife, “Annie’s Song” (No. 1 Pop/No. 1 AC/No. 9 Country, 1974). Many of Denver’s own compositions are, naturally, featured alongside tracks composed by Bill Danoff and Taffy Nivert (who co-wrote “Take Me Home, Country Roads” and “I Guess He’d Rather Be In Colorado”), Buddy Holly (“Everyday”), John Prine (“Blow Up Your TV (Spanish Pipe Dream)”), Joe Henry, and others. This career overview also takes in key album tracks, live performances, and rarities including promotional-only and privately-pressed tracks. In addition, six songs make their first appearances anywhere on this set. Typical for a collection of this nature, the lesser-known material is the most fascinating.

Somewhat startlingly, Denver’s familiar, warm voice is instantly recognizable and his style almost fully-formed on Disc One’s first two tracks. Both are previously unissued demos from an October 1964 Capitol session produced by The New Christy Minstrels’ founder, Randy Sparks. “This Road,” from Sparks’ own pen, and Morgan Ames’ “Far Side of the Hill,” are lushly orchestrated with strings and background singers in the popular folk-pop style of the day, but Denver effortlessly sails above the ornamentation with a confident vibrato and earnest delivery. (The arrangements were by “Our Day Will Come” composer Mort Garson.) These qualities would serve him well down his own road – a road that Sparks helped set him on when he insisted that the young artist change his name from Henry John Deutschendorf, Jr.! John took his new moniker both from his favorite state and from The New Christy Minstrels’ “Denver,” the first single from the singing group’s second album!  The box also has highlights from his tenure with The Chad Mitchell Trio.

The original, previously unissued version of “Rhymes and Reasons” is included here as recorded for Reprise Records in 1968. It was later re-recorded for Denver’s RCA debut later that year with the same producer – Milton Okun, with whom Denver would forge a strong bond and association that would last for years. The Reprise version lacks the prominent piano part of the RCA version and has a different sonic character. It’s not radically dissimilar, but sheds light on Denver’s developing style. (A couple of other rare tracks come from Denver’s Reprise period – both sides of Denver, Boise and Johnson’s 1968 single featuring the rollicking political novelty “The ’68 Nixon (This Year’s Model)” and the folk-rock of “Take Me to Tomorrow.”)

There’s plenty more after the jump!

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Written by Joe Marchese

November 7, 2014 at 10:59

Posted in Box Sets, Compilations, John Denver, News, Reviews

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Rush Celebrates 40 Years Of Live Rock With “R40” Box Set

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Rush R40Hot on the heels of the 40th anniversary vinyl reissue earlier this year of Rush’s debut album, the Canadian prog-rock legends are celebrating their four decades of making music with a new career-spanning live box set coming soon from Concord Music Group and Rounder Records. R40, available in both DVD and Blu-ray formats on November 11, brings together live performances by Rush from each decade of the band’s long career. The box includes five videos first released between 2003 and 2013:

  • Rush in Rio (2003);
  • R30: 30th Anniversary World Tour (2005);
  • Snakes & Arrows Live (2008);
  • Time Machine 2011: Live In Cleveland (2011); and
  • Clockwork Angels Tour (2013)

The box set adds a bonus disc of previously unreleased live material recorded between 1974 and 2013 including all eight songs from the Laura Secord Secondary School show in 1974 featuring original drummer John Rutsey. This disc also features five songs from Passaic, New Jersey’s late, lamented Capitol Theatre in 1976 such as “Anthem” and “Lakeside Park,” the full, 7-part version of “2112” from 1997, “Lock and Key” from the Hold Your Fire tour, and footage from the band’s 2013 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

After the jump, we have more including the complete track listing and pre-order links! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

November 6, 2014 at 11:17

Posted in Blu-Ray, Box Sets, DVD, Reissues, Rush

Review: Bob Dylan and The Band, “The Bootleg Series Vol. 11: The Basement Tapes – Complete”

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Dylan and The Band - Basement Tapes CompleteI. They Shall Be Released

1967: Jimi Hendrix asks, “Are You Experienced?” The Beatles plead, “Let me take you down” to “Strawberry Fields Forever.” Brian Wilson spins a yarn of “Heroes and Villains.” The Summer of Love is in full swing, and psychedelia is in the air. Fast forward one year. In July, The Band releases Music from Big Pink. Reportedly, hearing the album convinces Eric Clapton to leave Cream. The ripples of its influence would be felt in the ranks of The Beatles and Pink Floyd. The next month, in August, The Byrds unveil Sweetheart of the Rodeo, arguably the first major country-rock album by an established band. There’s nary a whiff of patchouli. But neither Big Pink and Sweetheart – nor countless albums that followed in their footsteps – would likely have existed, at least as they’re now known, if not for The Basement Tapes.

Big Pink introduced the world to “I Shall Be Released” and “Tears of Rage,” and included “This Wheel’s on Fire.” Rodeo began with “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere” and ended with “Nothing Was Delivered.” All of those songs were composed and first recorded by Bob Dylan and the group that would become The Band in a fertile period of recording from March 1967 to February 1968 (with some breaks in that period). Yet, The Basement Tapesen toto, the whole enchilada – have remained largely unreleased, until now. Just how these recordings became more influential than most platinum-selling hit records is one of music’s enduring mysteries. Would a full commercial release of this “cosmic American music” (to steal from Gram Parsons) diminish its mystique? The answer, happily, is no. The new Columbia/Legacy release of The Bootleg Series Vol. 11: The Basement Tapes: Complete, over six CDs, should quickly become the cornerstone of many a musical library and the key to a deeper understanding of not only its artists – who pushed the envelope by looking back as well as forward – but of an entire period of popular music and culture.

Dive into The Basement Tapes cache after the jump! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

November 4, 2014 at 13:40

Posted in Bob Dylan, Box Sets, News, Reviews, The Band

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